Ideas For Promoting Business

Business By 2sweetcookies Updated 4 Nov 2011 , 3:47am by CookieArtist

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2sweetcookies Posted 13 Oct 2011 , 6:15pm
post #1 of 21

I have been doing pretty good word of mouth the past couple years but now I am trying to get more business. I am not a "sales" person at all. I have been advertising but it too expensive to do every week. Set up a facebook page and do quite a bit for the local library.

Does anyone have any ideas on other ways to sell products or promote the cake/ cookie business. Maybe sell other products on my site, oils, fondant. etc. ?????????

I would like to send out letters to local restaurants/ function halls that hold larger parties, but have no idea on how to even start wording a decent letter.

Any input on what works for you would be a great help to me, I would love to hear it all....
Thank you

20 replies
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MimiFix Posted 14 Oct 2011 , 2:36am
post #2 of 21

To increase business you may need to play the part of a salesperson icon_smile.gif

Make a flyer with a list of some products and prices, add a couple of brief lines about your awesome products. Target a few potential wholesale customers (restaurants, caterers, etc) and take them some samples and flyers. Not every business will be receptive to your pitch, but that's a good way to let businesses know your products are available for wholesale.

Good luck!

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happyhousewife Posted 14 Oct 2011 , 3:01am
post #3 of 21

Have you tried Facebook and Twitter? Those social networking sites are great for free advertising!

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Deenamgall Posted 15 Oct 2011 , 2:53am
post #4 of 21

I have made friends with a local florist and he has been extremely helpful to me. Today I delivered cupcakes to him for a special he is running for Sweetest day. (it was a buy a dozen roses and get 2 cupcakes to go with it, he included my business card with them also.)

He also said I could make a flier and he would put it in the envelopes he mails out to help promote my business too!

One other way to promote is to go to bridal shows, which will soon be coming up. I really like the ones in my area that are smaller and don't cost a lot of money. I just sent in the registration for a January show and it cost $70 and included lunch to the vendors! I do two a year and get a ton of business from them.

My local paper has a bridal section where I run an ad once a month and it cost $15 a month.

I would say start networking with places you already do business, I get orders from a jewelry store and nursing home. Places you might not think of but sometimes it's just that they don't know you have a business!

Hope that helps!

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2sweetcookies Posted 15 Oct 2011 , 2:00pm
post #5 of 21

Thanks for the input, I havent thought about a florist. But I guess anything that has to do with the making of a large party would make sense. My local advertiser goes out to over 25,000 people , that is great but it is $30.00 a week. I vendors I have found so far are hundreds of $ to set up. Maybe I should keep searching and find a smaller event.

I like the idea of going around with flyers and samples.

I just got a facebook page and also added a hit counter to my web site, it's fun to see how many people actually go on to look.

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CSIMisty Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 11:43pm
post #6 of 21

One way would be to volunteer to bake goods for local churches and schools that are having fundraisers. Include your card and info for each one. It might help get the word out about your business.

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cupadeecakes Posted 18 Oct 2011 , 6:07pm
post #7 of 21

I agree that in the food business some of the best advertising is to get people to taste your product. When I was first starting out I took samples to anyone I thought might bring me some business: wedding venues, hotel managers, etc. You will either have to be a salesperson or enlist one!

One thought I just had... are you familiar with Icing Smiles? They are a charitable organization that connects bakers with terminally ill children. They are always in need of donations (both cake and monetary). Sometimes bakers will host a bake sale with all the proceeds going to Icing Smiles. Since it's charitable, you might a mall or someplace to donate free space for a day, you get lots of people to try your food, and you'll get some press from Icing Smiles as well. Then you can write up a press release for your local newspaper for even more exposure. Oh yeah, you have to be a marketing / PR person also! icon_smile.gif[/url]

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FromScratchSF Posted 18 Oct 2011 , 7:54pm
post #8 of 21

Having a good website is so important, I didn't realize how important until I just had mine re-done and rolled it out last week. My phone traffic has quadrupled just based on a slick, clean online presence. It's all well and good for people to get to your page, but you need to convert those clicks into calls, those calls into appointments, and those appointments into sales. If people don't get a good first impression about your business based on the 1st point of contact, which in most cases is your webpage, they will never call you.

Having a counter on your website does nothing for you. You need to have Google Analyitics and Webcrawler installed on your page so you can hone in on where your traffic is coming from, how they are finding you, what key words pop up for people to get to your site, which page they are looking at, and how long they spend looking. Those tools tell you all of those things. BTW, my old web page people would spend an average of 2.3 minutes on my site. That sucks. That means they click in, look at about 2% of my content then move on to someone else. My very 1st report for the new site people are spending over 20 minutes, which means they are reading all my text, looking at my pictures and taking me very seriously. Hence the increase in calls.

There is lots of tutorials and information about both of these free services, google them and read up on it and get them installed on your page ASAP.

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2sweetcookies Posted 19 Oct 2011 , 1:43pm
post #9 of 21

I love the icing smiles idea, thanks. I will definatley check that out.

I also know nothing about goodgle analyitics, I was just happy to know how many people were visiting my site, but it makes sense to know how long they are on it and where they are coming from. I have my web site free through my isp, i hope i can add it, I will try to get it on. If anyone has any critical input for my site I would love to hear it. I really just "wing" it all. and get ideas from other sites.

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FromScratchSF Posted 19 Oct 2011 , 3:17pm
post #10 of 21

You should be able to add it to any website, it's "invisible" code so as long as you have anywhere on your home page that you can look at html (it's normally an option somewhere), you just copy and paste it in. As long as you are looking at the code view, you can't do it wrong. Once you do that then you get an email once a week with your stats. First sign up and get an account for analytics and webcrawler then just call your ISP to walk you thru it if you don't want to try and do it on your own.

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jason_kraft Posted 19 Oct 2011 , 4:01pm
post #11 of 21

Google Analytics is a great even lets you pinpoint which page people link to your site from, which allows you to participate in discussions about your business on other forums.

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Panel7124 Posted 19 Oct 2011 , 5:42pm
post #12 of 21

Agree on GA as a great tool. I noticed from the beginning that I had enough traffic (for the newly established site) but a low feedback (apart from the orders by phone or mail). There is a 'Contact' page with the possibility to send a feedback on my site. Nobody used it the first month again apart from the orders. I thought what should I do to find out what the visitors think about the site. I've put a comment on the Home page like this:

'We would like to hear from you! Go to the 'Contact' page and reply to three questions - 1...., 2....., 3..... (the type of questions also helped me to find more information about the visitors that I couldn't see from GA). All participants will receive a small sweet gift by mail.'

As people usually don't do anything for free, it was a decent strategy. Bear in mind that in my region there are only 300 000 potential clients max. From the number of visits (and knowing the local mentality... icon_lol.gif ) I guessed it could be 2 max 3 responses/day. Calculated all the costs - making cookies/cupcakes, decorating, boxes, packaging, shipping costs. Name, surname, address, phone number, e-mail address and message fields are obbligatory, so I have all important information (apart from age - maybe will add it). After receiving their data from the site, I send back a confirmation e-mail style:

'Thank you for sharing your opinion on our site! The sweet gift will be sent to:.... full name, address of the person.'
Some people gave no phone number or a false or uncomplete address - (another typical attitude here icon_cool.gif ). I always check the local phonebook - if the person is not registered there, I don't send anything till he/she confirms my mail and corrects) but after my cofirmation e-mail they realized they would not receive anything and mailed the correct data. icon_smile.gif - everybody apart from one lady.

The positive thing that came out of all this is:
1. a database of potential clients
2. finding their opinions on the site
3. finding their opinions on the products
4. finding what type of products is the most successful and are mostly interested in

Another positive fact was that people in some more remote areas did not have a possibility to buy directly from me just to taste the products - they will not make 50 km just to buy one cupcake. But they can come to pick up a two tier birthday cake - no problem. In some of the responses I found that was exactly the problem - without tasting the products they will probably not order. So the problem was partially resolved by sending them a sample of a cupcake/cookie for tasting as a 'gift' even before I found what was the problem with them.

This 'strategy' will be probably too expensive for those living in a big urban areas and impossible to realize. For my small region it's ok, usually I send from 7 to 12 'gifts'/week, so as planned. I will not continue for a long time, just the next 3 months. I do only custom mostly fondant cakes ($5 - 8 per serving depends on design and decorations), fondant cakes are not usual here, almost nobody knows them and even don't know WHAT is fondant. Nobody does fondant except one sole person and frankly she is not good (I also am a beginner icon_redface.gif ). Sorry for the long post, just wanted to share if anybody is interested.

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cakecoachonline Posted 22 Oct 2011 , 11:37pm
post #13 of 21

There is nothing better than actually picking up the telephone and having conversations with people - so getting comfortable with doing this will give your business a massive boost. If you can find caterers that you could link up with an introduce yourself, as well as businesses running party locations - I think this is far more powerful than paying for a load of leaflets 99% which might up end up in the hands of people who simply are not interested, and then passively waiting for replies from anyone who actually looked at the leaflet. Spending the time networking with people who you could help in their business - and in turn they in yours will pay better returns than spending hours designing leaflets and paying for the printing and then distributing them. Find the people who are hosting the parties, taking the photoes, and catering for the parties and the wedding planners. These are the people with all the enquiries - it just makes sense to find these and save yourself some time!

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CookieArtist Posted 24 Oct 2011 , 4:32pm
post #14 of 21

A search engine friendly website and SEO (search engine optimization)!!! If you can get your website on the top of Google and the other search engines for the keywords most important to your business, you will get traffic to your website which in turn helps you get the business = sales!!! My husband used Webhead Interactive - Expect to spend about $500 a month for local optimization but its well worth it! icon_smile.gif It more than paid for itself in less than 3 months!

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2sweetcookies Posted 24 Oct 2011 , 5:21pm
post #15 of 21

I tried adding google analytics, not sure if it worked, it is showing up at the bottom of the page, I also tried to put it in html and still showed up. It seems so easy just copy and paste but I have my website through my ISP and it is somtimes tricky.

I like the giveaway idea, for me it would be too much to give to everyone that responds but maybe have a drawing at the end of every month for a giveaway. It would defintaely be worth it to hear opinions and suggestions.

I did post my ad on an events planning web site. but would really like to contact local event planners of event hall. WOuld it be totally unprofessional to send out a flyer or email? I really dont have the "sales" or "communicating" skills. Any ideas on flyers and working?

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Deenamgall Posted 24 Oct 2011 , 6:07pm
post #16 of 21

I have a website and I only pay $35.98 a month. The cost of the website is $19.99 a month and I pay an extra $15.99 a month for it to come up in one of the first few results in google.

My husband takes care of the site and keeping it updated. I also do wedding and it's free. It has helped to have the reviews on my website from happy brides who have done business with me.

I'm not really sure about the previous post and the search engine optimization and all but $500 a month is not in my budget. (I mean no disrespect there.) Just saying that seems like a lot of money to me, I could not justify that expense.

Another thing I do is there is a wedding hall in the next town from me and they have a thing where for $50.00 a year they will add you to their list of preferred vendors. They have a link on their website to my website and twice a year they do tastings for the couples and family's. I go to that and set up a table and serve cake to them like it was a wedding reception. It's a neat way to be exposed to so many brides at once.

I hope that helps! Just a few words of encouragement to you...the more you put yourself out there and talk to people face to face the easier it gets. You know you have something to offer so just be confident and show yourself off! It will start to pay off!

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jason_kraft Posted 24 Oct 2011 , 6:10pm
post #17 of 21

Agreed that $500/month is way too much to pay for search engine optimization. You can probably get the same level of exposure spending $50/month on Google AdWords.

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FromScratchSF Posted 24 Oct 2011 , 10:17pm
post #18 of 21
Originally Posted by 2sweetcookies

I tried adding google analytics, not sure if it worked, it is showing up at the bottom of the page, I also tried to put it in html and still showed up. It seems so easy just copy and paste but I have my website through my ISP and it is somtimes tricky.

The code has to be dropped into a certain spot on all the pages you want it to keep track of. From Google:

"Once you find the code snippet, copy and paste it into the bottom of your content, immediately before the /body tag of each page you are planning to track."

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2sweetcookies Posted 25 Oct 2011 , 1:38pm
post #19 of 21

I am so frustrated with this analytics, when I set up the account I didnt have time to finish and now I cant find the big long code. I went into my settings and there are some number before my web site that I tried. I am searching help all over the site and keep getting the same info. It just isnt working out for me. I do have a hit counter through my isp but not through google, cant get hat on either, fo frustrating.

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FromScratchSF Posted 25 Oct 2011 , 3:10pm
post #20 of 21

If ever you are getting stick try googling your question, this pops right up (and actually there was a link to this in the other instruction link I posted).

Don't get frustrated!

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CookieArtist Posted 4 Nov 2011 , 3:47am
post #21 of 21

My husband owns a local salon in the area and we come up for all of our keywords and their variations like tampa salon, tampa hair salon, etc...and they assist us with online PR and social media so we def see a return on our investment with the monthly cost. There is no reason to pay for Google Adwords if you can get top organic rankings - plus 80% click on the organic rankings rather than the Paid Listings from Adwords so you are missing out on 20% of clicks. They provide us with monthly reports of our traffic, where the traffic comes from, what keywords, and conversions plus a ranking report and back link report so its pretty cool. At first we were apprehensive about the price but I am now a believer. So many local companies are doing ongoing SEO now since the 1st place people go to find a local business or service is online - including bakeries! I know Webhead (our SEO company) has one of the leading cupcake companies in the area on the top of the search engines and their business is booming! icon_smile.gif

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